Gaming's Guilty Pleasures: Marathon Sessions - Destructoid

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Fist of the North Char, son.

Turn ons: Cursing, music from the '90s, sleeping
Turn offs: "Games as art," 4chan culture, wet socks
Favorite gaming genres: Beat-'em-ups, 2D fighters, turn-based/real time strategy games
Winners: Don't use drugs
America: Fuck yeah!

My personal Hall of Fame:
Mega Man II, III, 9, and 10 (NES/XBLA)
Streets of Rage 2 (Genesis)
Contra + Super C (NES)
The Legend of Zelda + Link to the Past (NES/SNES)
Final Fantasy VI (SNES)
RBI Baseball (NES)
StarCraft I + II (PC)
Castle Crashers (XBLA)
Mass Effect Trilogy (360)
Street Fighter IV (360)
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (360)
Dark Souls (360)

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Everyone's been there at some point. After reaching that last save point or taking down a difficult boss, you put down the sweaty controller, stretch out your aching fingers, rub your glazed-over eyes, and glance at the clock.

Dun dun DUNNNNNN!!!

Shit. It's 5 AM and I have work in the morning!

Surely almost every gamer worth his (or her) salt has reached the point where they take things too far and go overboard in their gaming habits. I'm not even going to touch upon the amount of money that people spend on their video games (which can be ludicrous at times), but I'll instead focus on the amount of time that people spend. Marathon sessions are enjoyable, especially when red-hot properties like Metal Gear Solid and Smash Bros. are released, but the consequences are not always pleasant:

Side note: what the hell is wrong with that man's hair?! Looks like a reverse-leopard.

Learning to balance gaming with responsibilities in "the real world" is a difficult task for some people, with school, work, and family often competing for time with the likes of aliens, zombies, and those endless fucking bullets from Ikaruga. Skipping class, calling out of work sick, and ignoring social events are all fairly common when a huge game is released (I'm looking at you, people who bought GTAIV at midnight!). I don't even need to bring up World of Warcraft, do I? Hell, too much of a good thing can even be a matter of life and death for some people:

"Ready to roll out!"

As with all things, moderation is the key. I've had to learn this the hard way through my 20+ years of gaming, because I've spent many a night glued to the computer playing StarCraft or running through quests in Oblivion for hours on end. After I reach a certain point, I know I should stop playing, but I don't. I might be too tired or aggravated to enjoy playing the game, yet I trudge onward. MUST.KEEP.GOING. I suppose this could be considered an addiction by some, and the topic of internet addiction has even been suggested for inclusion in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

I always feel some guilt and remorse after spending an entire night playing video games. I tend to think, damn, I could have been WAY more productive with those hours of my life. I think my personal record was around 12 hours spent on God of War II in a 24-hour period, which pretty much left me feeling like shit afterward.

He fucked up my day like the Blade of Olympus in Zeus' chest

I suppose that my guilt comes from the fact that I'm playing alone in my room, with the curtains drawn like some Howard Hughes-ian recluse, as I almost never do marathon sessions with other people. Maybe this is because I keep weird hours, and that most of my friends are in bed while I'm wide awake. Or maybe it's the fact that I can't stand playing with some of the annoying bastards on Xbox Live for more than a couple hours at a time.

Since getting a full-time job after college, I haven't had the time or energy to invest in video games like I used to, which I suppose is a good thing. I would probably self-destruct if left on my own for too long. So what about you guys? What's the longest amount of time (in one sitting, or cumulative time) you've ever spent on a single game?

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Living the dream since March 16, 2006

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